Applying For Mississippi WIC
Mississippi WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Mississippi State Department of Health. They are responsible for determing the eligibility requirements, application process and are in charge of providing the benefits and services to WIC participants. The Mississippi WIC program aims to protect the health of low income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to the age of 5 who are at a nutritional risk. This is done through WIC approved nutritious foods you can purchase using paper vouchers/checks, or in some states your WIC EBT card.
Nutrition Risk Requirements
Anyone who applies for Mississippi WIC benefits must be seen by a health professional such as a physician, nurse, or nutritionist. They must determine whether the applicant is at a nutrition risk. In most cases, this can be done at a local WIC clinic at no cost to the applicant. However, if need be, this information can be obtained from another health professional such as the applicants doctor. Being a nutrition risk means that an individual has a medical-based or dietary-based condition.
For medical-based condition it could be anemia, underweight or a history of poor pregnacy outcome. For a dietary-based condition, this could include having a poor diet. At a minimum, the applicant's height and weight must be taken and bloodwork drawn up to check for anemia. An applicant must have at least one of the medical or dietary conditions listed on the state's list of WIC nutrition risk criteria.
Before applying for the MS WIC program, you can see if you are potentially eligible through the online Prescreening Tool. Please note, this tool is not considered an application. You still need to follow the application process for this state. It takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Mississippi WIC benefits provide:
- A monthly package of delicious, nutritious foods
- Valuable tips on healthy eating
- Health care referrals
- Breastfeeding support
Mississippi WIC Food Package
The MS WIC food package provides nutritious foods to supplement regular meals. At no cost to you, you can choose some or all of the following:
- Baby formula
- Peanut butter
- White and chocolate milks
- Hot and cold cereals
- A selection of 100% fruit juices
- Canned tuna for breastfeeding mothers
- Whole wheat bread and tortillas
- Fresh and canned fruits and vegetables
- Baby food fruits and vegetables
- Baby food meats for breastfed infants
Mississippi WIC Eligibility
To be eligible for the MS WIC program, a woman, infant, or child must meet the income guidelines and be at medical or nutritional risk. Low iron levels in the blood (anemia), underweight, overweight, or poor diet are typical examples. A nurse or nutritionist will determine if an applicant is eligible for the WIC program. You can check your income against the Mississippi WIC Income Guidelines to see if you may qualify. If you receive TANF, Food Stamps or Medicaid, you automatically meet WIC income guidelines.
To start the application process for MS WIC benefits, you need to contact your local WIC clinic and schedule an appointment. Parents not wanting to bring their newborns in to the WIC clinic have a 60-day period during which the newborn must be seen at the WIC clinic.
Mississippi WIC Appointment
Applicants must bring proof of income, residence, and identification to their WIC appointment.
Proof of income
Below is a list of items you can bring to prove your income:
- A current pay stub less than 60 days old
- A signed statement from an employer indicating gross income earnings for a specified pay period
- Current W-2 forms
- An income tax return for the most current year
- Proof of Medicaid, TANF, or Food Stamps
Proof of residence
Below is a list of items you can bring toi prove where you live:
- Pieces of mail that include the client's current address
- A valid driver's license with the current address
- A mortgage/rental agreement
Proof of identification
Below is a list of examples to bring that can proof your identification:
- A valid driver license
- A social security card
- A valid US passport
- A current shot record
- A military ID
- A newborn crib card
If you have additional questions or issues, or if you are having issues making an appointment, then call 800-338-6747.
Research has shown that breast milk is the best food for the baby's first year of life. Breastfeeding provides many health, nutritional and economical benefits to mother and baby. Since a major goal of the Mississippi WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, MS WIC encourages participating mothers to choose breastfeeding in the following ways:
- Mothers are provided with breastfeeding information and support
- Breastfeeding mothers are eligible to participate in Mississippi WIC longer than non-breastfeeding mothers
- Mothers who exclusively breastfeed receive a larger amount and variety of foods
- Mothers can receive a pump and other breastfeeding items if needed to help support the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding
Length of WIC Participation
Mississippi WIC is considered a short-term program. A participate "graduates" at the end of one or more of their certification periods. A certification period is the length of time a MS WIC participate is eligible to receive benefits. Depending on the persons condition, either pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, an infant or child, an eligible person usually receives benefits from 6 months to a year, at which time they are required to re-apply.
The WIC Waiting List
In some situations, WIC agencies may not have enough financial backing to serve everyone who qualifies for the Mississippi WIC program or those who call to apply. At this point, the WIC agencies must keep a list that is referred to as the "waiting list". It contains all of the individuals who want to apply for the Mississippi WIC program and are likely to be served. From there, the WIC agencies use a special system called a "Priority System". Based on conditions like most serious health conditions (anemia, underweight, pregnancy problems), this system will determine who will be served next to receive MS WIC benefits. There are 7 priorities used in this priority system, the details for each priority and how they are determined are listed below.
The following applicants with nutrition-related medical conditions such as anemia, underweight, overweight or pre-term birth:
- Pregnant Women
- Breastfeeding Women
Infants up to 6 months of age whose mothers participated in WIC or could have participated and had nutrition-related medical conditions.
Children with nutrition-related medical conditions.
The following applicants with dietary problems, for example a poor diet:
- Pregnant Women
- Breastfeeding Women
Children with dietary problems, for example a poor diet.
Postpartum (non-breastfeeding) women with nutrition related-medical conditions or dietary problems.
Current WIC participants who without providing the WIC supplemental foods could continue to have medical and/or dietary problems.
Please note, state agencies can decide to place homeless and migrant participants in Priorities 5 through 7. At the state agencies option, postpartum women may be placed in Priorities 3 through 5. Any priority can be subdivided into subcategories of risk, using factors such as income or age.
WIC Participants who are Moving
If you are receiving Mississippi WIC benefits and are moving from one area or state to another, then you will be placed at the top of a waiting list when you move and are also served first when the WIC agency can serve more individuals. While moving, you can still continue to receive your benefits until your certification period expires as long as there is proof that you are receiving WIC benefits in another area or state. Before you move, you need to contact your local WIC clinic and let them know.
In most cases the staff will give you a special card, Verification of Certification Card (VOC), which will prove that you are receiving WIC benefits. After you do move, you will then need to call the WIC clinic in your new area to schedule an appointment. When attending your appointment, make sure to take the VOC card that was given to you to show proof that you were participating in the MS WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Mississippi WIC program that manages these benefits and services.